10 Gallon Tank Struggling with ammonia in cycle

Maryellen

Member
good evening fishlore!

im at week 8 of my fish IN cycle. I wasn’t planning on it, but I rescued a betta last minute and it was the only space I had available, she has not been in there the full 8 weeks. (She’s doing great btw, have a thread on her recovery from fish store problems) my ammonia has been semi high all cycle, more so then my other tanks, but it’s never been any higher then what it’s at Currently. Wasn’t too concerned...
Until now, it’s week 8, and these are my readings.
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it had been 8 days since my last water change, which was roughly 40%. Tests were taken prior to my WC. my ammonia is still ridiculous, so I asked some fish keeping friends. I showed them pictures of my filter as well,

98640C84-F33C-4A77-A3BC-C47C318753F7.jpeg

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there’s two things of poly fill in there from cycled 20gal, and an activated carbon filter. They advised me to clean my filter ASAP, to get rid of the ammonia building up in it. I understand where they’re coming from, but that goes against one of the first things I learned about fish keeping, don’t mess with your media, so I’m very, very hesitant to.

whats your guys advice on this? I was hoping my tank would be just about done with cycling now, and I’m a bit confused as to what my next step would be. Leave it running a few more weeks to cycle?
tank is stocked with 1 nerite and female betta.
 

Betta'sAnonymous

Member
You can use tank water to clean it up and shouldn't mess with the bacteria.
 

Baylum

Member
Well, filter cartridges hold very little bacteria so it won't even matter. You would best put a sponge in there or get a sponge filter instead, as those aqueon filters are really crappy for holding anything other than their overpriced, useless cartridges.

A bit concerning that you are doing a "fish in cycle" with ammonia levels that have been "high all cycle"? That isn't exactly how to go about a fish in cycle. You should be keeping ammonia extremely low, as there will still be some in the water for the bacteria to produce from.

I hope you are at least overdosing Seachem Prime to nullify some effects of the toxins on your rescue fish.
 

Dechi

Member
Do NOT clean your filter, your instinct is right. Nor the substrate or decorations.

Your filter media isn’t ideal at all, because when you change those cartridges, you’ll lose all bacteria. That will be something to look at later.

Right now it looks like your cycle hasn‘t started, or is very early in the process. First, you need to keep your ammonia levels at 0.25 ppm or less, which means testing every day and doing water changes according to the amount of ammonia. For example, with 0.5 ppm, doing a 50% WC will bring it down to 0.25 ppm, which is acceptable. This will help your fish’s immune system and keep stress levels as low as possible and hopefully prevent disease.

Next, we need to understand why your cycle isn’t going. What is your PH ? A PH of around 6.0 will completely stop bacteria growth. Maybe that’s your problem ?

Test your tap water PH right away, and 24 hours after sitting in a bucket. Sometimes it can change over time.
 
  • Thread Starter

Maryellen

Member
Baylum said:
Well, filter cartridges hold very little bacteria so it won't even matter. You would best put a sponge in there or get a sponge filter instead, as those aqueon filters are really crappy for holding anything other than their overpriced, useless cartridges.

A bit concerning that you are doing a "fish in cycle" with ammonia levels that have been "high all cycle"? That isn't exactly how to go about a fish in cycle. You should be keeping ammonia extremely low, as there will still be some in the water for the bacteria to produce from.

I hope you are at least overdosing Seachem Prime to nullify some effects of the toxins on your rescue fish.
Prime has been my best friend through all this. I’ve been using it religiously.

let me rephrase, ammonia has been at that level or lower, no higher, and fish hasnt showed any signs of stress, or ammonia poisionig yet, I’ve been keeping close eye on her.

there are also two sponges in the filter, one large, coarse one right by the output, and one finer one below my other pads.
Dechi said:
Do NOT clean your filter, your instinct is right. Nor the substrate or decorations.

Your filter media isn’t ideal at all, because when you change those cartridges, you’ll lose all bacteria. That will be something to look at later.

Right now it looks like your cycle hasn‘t started, or is very early in the process. First, you need to keep your ammonia levels at 0.25 ppm or less, which means testing every day and doing water changes according to the amount of ammonia. For example, with 0.5 ppm, doing a 50% WC will bring it down to 0.25 ppm, which is acceptable. This will help your fish’s immune system and keep stress levels as low as possible and hopefully prevent disease.

Next, we need to understand why your cycle isn’t going. What is your PH ? A PH of around 6.0 will completely stop bacteria growth. Maybe that’s your problem ?

Test your tap water PH right away, and 24 hours after sitting in a bucket. Sometimes it can change over time.
I have a high ph, roughly 8.2 out of the tap. My PH in my other two tanks stays at a pretty steady 7.8, the PH in the cycling tank is currently 8.
 

mattgirl

Member
Since you have media other than just the cartridge and even if you didn't I will recommend you clean all that buildup off of there in some water you have pulled from the tank or some fresh dechlorinated water. Bacteria is going to struggle to colonize on the media while trying to get through whatever that is building up in there. Cleaning it off isn't going to be a problem as long as you don't clean it off in straight tap water. I have to think this build up is adding to your ammonia problem.

Next, I would be doing water changes daily if that is what it took to get and keep the ammonia down to no more than .25 although zero is even better. Prime is a good product but I never recommend adding it instead of doing a water change.

I am confused by the color I am seeing in the nitrate test tube. I've never seen that color. It should be a clear yellow, orange or red. I am seeing something that looks like a muddy brown. I am wondering if it has anything to do with the sludge I am seeing in your filter.
 

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